In July and August this year I attended two functions, which promoted the Cyprus struggle.

Both events were extremely well organised and well attended by members of the Australian community.

The first function was held in late July, coinciding with the commemoration of the first wave of the Turkish onslaught in 1974.

The event was a public forum where distinguished university scholars and intellectuals from Australia, America and Cyprus gave presentations on the topic of human rights.

The speakers gave a summary of the history of international human rights; the proposal for a human rights charter in Australia; the ongoing human rights violations in Cyprus by the Turkish occupation regime and also the derogation of fundamental human rights in the proposed UN “solutions” to the Cyprus problem.

The second event was held in mid August, coinciding with the commemoration of the second wave of the Turkish onslaught in 1974.

 The event comprised of informative lectures about the history of Ammochostos, presented by an eminent university researcher and university undergraduates.

The event concentrated on the history and rich culture of Ammochostos, tied in with the illegal invasion of the city.

The event highlighted that Ammochostos is not only a ghost town waiting for us, it is a city of great historical and cultural significance; our own cultural legacy waiting for our return.

These two functions successfully placed Cyprus in the spotlight of the wider Australian community.

Most importantly, it placed Cyprus in the correct spotlight.

The first event put the political issue in the context of human rights, which is the platform from which the Cyprus problem ought to be promoted.

The second event highlighted the plight of Ammochostos, which is supremely rich in history and culture.

It showed us our incredible cultural legacy, which was forcefully taken from us by the occupation forces.

They were two well organised functions, which successfully promoted Cyprus from within the correct parameters and to the right audiences.

It is important to know that both of these functions were organised by a handful of capable members of the Cypriot community, executed outside the organised body of the “Cyprus Community of Melbourne and Victoria” (CCMV) and the “Justice for Cyprus Coordinating Committee” (SEKA -Vic).

There is much to be said for the current state of the CCMV and its assets; however, the purpose of this article is not to discuss the CCMV.

The sole purpose of the existence of SEKA is to promote the Cyprus struggle to the Australian community and government.

In my opinion and many others’, SEKA-Vic has failed to fulfil its primary function effectively for too long now.

The participants of the annual protest march organised by SEKA, decrease yearly.

Given that it was not a rainy day, there was no excuse for the lack of numbers this year. The march ended up at Parliament House where everyone (not more than 400) stood on the pavement and the first five steps.

There is no effective government lobby and no proper promotion to the general Australian public.

SEKA has restricted itself in organising events for the consumption of the Hellenic Australian community only.

Has the executive body of SEKA ever asked themselves: “What is the reason for the embarrassing turnout year after year? What are we doing wrong? What do we need to change?”

I doubt that any of these questions have ever been discussed at SEKA meetings. 

At the extraordinary pan-community SEKA meeting held on the 18th of May 2006, I provided the executive and members of SEKA a written proposal on ways in which SEKA can better structure itself in order to become more functional and more effective in achieving its goals in the 21st century.

I suggested that the executive consider organising a special meeting to discuss this proposal.

Such a meeting was never commissioned by SEKA.

Most of the necessary qualities that are required to effectively serve the Cyprus struggle are lacking within SEKA.

It is unfortunate that the executive of SEKA is unable to recognise, comprehend or accept that they are fundamentally incapable of effectively promoting the Cyprus struggle here in Australia.

As a result, SEKA has become extrinsic to the cause.

Currently, SEKA ideally embodies what we call “strouthokamilismos”.

Fortunately, there are still people in our community (albeit of their own initiative) in whom the passionate fire of patriotism still burns and fuels an aptitude to successfully promote the Cyprus struggle.

Well done.

Elias Eracleous is an active member of the Greek community, and was a former representative of the Cypriot community to SEKA.